In a recent UK study of 2,000 business owners, almost half of those surveyed said they cancelled social plans at least once a week because of work pressures. The survey trend suggested that half of all small business owners simply didn’t make social plans because they had too much to do in their companies. And a quarter of those questioned admitted falling ill due to stress levels. While this study has not been replicated in Canada, would our responses differ drastically?
Many entrepreneurs work long hours, wear many hats, deal with constant pressures, and juggle their leadership with many other commitments. In this context, relaxation and socializing can take can take a back seat. It can feel unimportant, non-urgent, or even selfish to prioritize ‘play’ over work. Yet ‘play’ — taking time away from work commitments with the express purpose of enjoying ourselves — is core to the idea of self-care.
But in the words of Parker Palmer:
“Self-care is never a selfish act — it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others.
You and your business are inextricably linked. If you are flourishing, you bring more passion, determination, enthusiasm and vision to your company. If you are burnt out, not sleeping, or suffering from chronic stress, you’ll have less to offer and will lead less effectively.
It’s vital to set time aside to care for ourselves in ways that will rejuvenate us and meet our own needs.Since our needs are as different as our personalities, recognizing them is the first step towards meeting them. When do you feel restored? What brings you alive? What energizes you most?
Below are 25 easy ways to practise self-care. Which ones are you drawn to? Which could you implement this week?
- Go for a walk, whatever the weather.
- Talk openly with someone you trust.
- Enjoy a glass of good wine, coffee, or craft beer (whatever your favourite drink).
- Listen to music, without doing anything else.
- Take time to be with a pet or other animal. Increasing research points to its benefit.
- Get enough sleep. Take time to nap if you need it.
- Spend time in the garden.
- Sit outside in a park and people watch, or listen to the birds.
- Learn something new. (Here’s the science behind why your brain will thank you).
- Be creative, with no expectations of the result or showing anyone what you made.
- Enjoy a warm shower or bath. Play music throughout, or enjoy the silence.
- Watch a good TV show or movie.
- Spent time with your family, partner, or a good friend, just being together with no focus on completing tasks.
- Give back. Visit someone lonely, babysit, walk someone’s dog, or volunteer your time.
- Journal somewhere private, peaceful and anonymous, like a coffee shop.
- Say no to that obligation that’s hanging over your head.
- Cross out that non-essential task in your to do list that’s been there for ages and you keep ignoring.
- Ask for help.
- Declutter your desk. Or, if you prefer to have things on your desk, organize it differently.
- Like these entrepreneurs, speak out about your struggles. You’ll realize you’re not the only one.
- Practise mindfulness, meditation or prayer.
- Read for pleasure.
- Cook yourself something nourishing and tasty.
- Turn off your phone, laptop and TV. (For a middle ground, turn off their notifications.)
- Exercise for at least 20 minutes.
Putting into practice one of these suggestions, or coming up with something else that restores you, will help you build your resilience, perspective and enjoyment of life — and your business!
Our RESULTS Members gain 24/7 access to our webinar, “Bringing your Best Self to Work” (available in video and audio-only content), plus our transcript, Summary and Member Workbook to help work through the learning. Join our waitlist so you’re the first to know when we re-open registration.